By: Michelle Remold
It is said when someone has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia that they become a ‘shell’ of the person they once were. I will not argue against this statement because the person isn’t the same person they were before. However, I do think it is important to look for and cherish the moments where glimpses of the person you knew comes through.
While reminiscing about visiting my grandpa in the nursing home, I noticed that some of the things we did the most were things s he enjoyed before he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and were things that seemed the most ‘normal’. I will start with some information on my grandpa. He loved being outdoors and would go for walks everyday or spend summers fishing and gardening, he had a sweet tooth (ice cream, Lemon Meringue pie, and circus peanuts were among his favorites), played the harmonica, collected model cars, and loved baseball.
It seemed that when we involved one of the things he enjoyed the most was when glimpses of his personality came through. We would take him on walks and he would point out trees and flowers, he would sit through televised baseball games and cheer on the Minnesota Twins, if we brought his harmonica with he would blow into even if the songs that once rang through his house no longer came out, but what he enjoyed most of all was when we brought him coffee with a slice of cake, an ice cream sundae, or his favorite pie.
I think that it is important to remember the person’s favorite things and try to incorporate them as much as possible. It might be having their favorite chair in their room or bringing them their favorite food, but remembering what they liked before and incorporating it into the ‘new normal’ can make the transition a little easier.
Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Aging Studies and Nursing Home Administration from Minnesota State University Mankato.